Anker SoundCore Life 2 Wireless Headphones Review

Tested using Methodology v1.4
Reviewed Apr 04, 2019 at 10:47 am
Anker SoundCore Life 2 Wireless Picture
6.9
Mixed Usage
7.1
Neutral Sound
7.1
Commute/Travel
7.0
Sports/Fitness
6.9
Office
5.4
Wireless Gaming
7.0
Wired Gaming
6.8
Phone Calls
Type Over-ear
Enclosure Closed-Back
Wireless Yes
Noise Cancelling Yes
Mic Yes
Transducer Dynamic

The Anker SoundCore Life 2 are decent mixed usage wireless over-ears. They are noise cancelling, but their ANC feature is disappointing, especially for commuting. On the upside, they have a decent audio reproduction and are better suited for bass-heavy genres. They also have a bass boost effect that is easy to use but won't let you know on which setting you are. Their battery life is amazing and will last you around 28 hours. However, like most Bluetooth headphones, their latency might be slightly high for watching videos, but you can use the included audio cable to get rid of it, which is convenient. These headphones are fairly versatile, offer good value, and will be suitable for most users.

Our Verdict

6.9 Mixed Usage

Decent for mixed usage. These headphones have a decent sound quality that's better suited for bass-heavy genres. They are comfortable enough for long listening sessions and their ANC feature does an okay job at isolating ambient noise while commuting and at the office. They have an amazing battery life and wireless range. However, like most Bluetooth headphones, their latency might be slightly too high for gaming and watching video content. This can be eliminated by using the included audio cable.

Pros
  • Decent audio reproduction.
  • Comfortable fit.
  • Amazing battery life.
Cons
  • Mediocre noise isolation.
  • Not breathable.
  • Bass delivery inconsistencies. Sensitive to glasses.
7.1 Neutral Sound

Decent for neutral listening. The Anker SoundCore Life 2 have an extended and powerful bass, a flat and even mid-range, and a well-balanced treble. However, their bass is slightly thumpy, which some may like, and it's prone to inconsistencies across multiple users. Their mid-range is slightly underemphasized, which makes the vocals and leads thick-sounding. Also, their treble is slightly uneven. Overall, these headphones will be better suited for bass-heavy genres and won’t be ideal for vocal-centric music. Fans of bass can also enable their BassUp feature by double tapping the middle button.

7.1 Commute/Travel

Okay for commuting. They are noise cancelling headphones, but they don’t do the best job at isolating against lower frequency noises like engine rumbles. On the upside, their battery will last you for the longest rides or flights without a problem. You can also use them wired if you want to watch video content while on-the-go to get rid of the Bluetooth latency. Their bulky design might not be ideal to carry around, but they’ll be comfortable to wear for a while.

7.0 Sports/Fitness

Okay for sports. They have a fairly secure fit once on the head, but won’t be suitable for most intense sports. Also, these headphones get quite hot and don’t allow for much airflow, meaning you will sweat more than usual. On the upside, their extra bass effect can keep you pumped during your workouts, which some may prefer.

6.9 Office

Decent for the office. The Anker SoundCore Life 2 do a good job at isolating against ambient chatter and they don’t leak too much so you shouldn’t bother surrounding colleagues. Their design is comfortable to wear for a few hours, but they do tend to get warm. However, this shouldn’t be a problem if you take them off from time to time. On the upside, their long battery life will be more than enough during a full workday and won’t need daily charging.

5.4 Wireless Gaming

Sub-par for gaming. Their latency will be too high for gaming and their microphone isn’t the greatest for online games. However, if you use them wired, you won’t have latency issues and we expect their in-line microphone to be slightly better than the integrated one. It won’t perform as well as a gaming headset boom microphone and the headset won’t be as customizable.

7.0 Wired Gaming
6.8 Phone Calls
  • 6.9 Mixed Usage
  • 7.1 Neutral Sound
  • 7.1 Commute/Travel
  • 7.0 Sports/Fitness
  • 6.9 Office
  • 5.4 Wireless Gaming
  • 7.0 Wired Gaming
  • 6.8 Phone Calls
  1. Update 2/5/2020: Converted to Test Bench 1.4.
  2. Update 11/21/2019: Converted to Test Bench 1.3.1.
  3. Update 11/21/2019: Converted to Test Bench 1.3.

Test Results

Design
Design
Style

The SoundCore Life 2 are decently good looking headphones but have a plasticky feel. They have dense cups and thick-looking hinges as well. Also, the headband and the cups are well-padded. They don’t stand out too much due to their all-black design, and they don’t have any other color schemes.

7.5
Design
Comfort
Weight 0.58 lbs
Clamping Force
1.0 lbs

The SoundCore Life 2 are comfortable and lightweight headphones. The padding on the ear cups is plushy and is very soft. That said, the cups may feel a bit small for bigger ears. The padding on the headband is also comfortable and distributes the weight of the headphones effectively. However, the headband is also very large and, even at the smallest size adjustment, these headphones might be too large for people with smaller heads. If you find these too large, you may want to check out the upgrade model, the Anker Soundcore Life Q20, as they have a slightly smaller headband.

7.1
Design
Controls
OS Compatibility
Not OS specific
Ease Of Use Decent
Feedback Good
Call/Music Control Yes
Volume Control Yes
Microphone Control No
Channel Mixing
No
Noise Cancelling Control On/Off
Talk-Through
No
Additional Controls Bass Effect

The SoundCore Life 2 have an easy to use control scheme and offers multiple common functionalities like play/pause, manage calls, track skipping, and volume control. On top of that, you also have a dedicated button for the noise cancelling feature. These headphones also have a bass boost that you can trigger by double tapping the middle button twice. The buttons are clicky and offer good feedback, but you don't know on which bass setting you're on.

5.0
Design
Breathability
Avg.Temp.Difference 9.0 C

The SoundCore Life 2 are one of the least breathable headphones we’ve tested so far. The soft and pleather ear padding creates a good seal around your ears, which doesn’t let airflow cool your ears. Heat is trapped under the ear cups, which will make you sweat more than usual. This means they won’t be a great option for sports and you will notice a big difference in temperature, even when casually listening.

6.2
Design
Portability
L 5.8 "
W 5.9 "
H 2.5 "
Volume 86 Cu. Inches
Transmitter Required No

Like the Anker SoundCore Space NC, the headphones are quite bulky and aren’t the easiest to carry around. However, the cups swivel to lay flat, which makes it easier to wear around your neck or to slide in a bag. Also, you can fold them into a more compact format and fit them inside their great carrying case.

8.0
Design
Case
Type Hard case
L 8.0 "
W 6.1 "
H 2.4 "
Volume 117 Cu. Inches

The Anker SoundCore Life 2 come with a great hard case. It protects the headphones against physical damage from falls, water exposure, and scratches. There is no wiggling room once the headphones are in the case, which is great. The case doesn’t add too much bulk and can easily be stored in a bag. It also has a pocket to help you carry your accessories and cables.

7.0
Design
Build Quality

The SoundCore Life 2 are mostly made out of plastic, and their overall feel is slightly cheaper than the similarly designed SoundCore Space NC. The hinges feel plasticky and hollow, which could be a weak point of the overall build. On the upside, the headband is reinforced by a metal sheet and the padding used on the headphones isn’t stiff. The cups are fairly dense and should still survive an accidental drop without too much damage.

7.0
Design
Stability

The SoundCore Life 2 are fairly stable headphones, so you could jog with them. They have a good clamping force and they fit nicely on the head, but their design isn’t really suited for sports. Also, if you have a smaller head, the headphones may not have a secure fit and will wobble around easily, especially during physical activity. On the upside, their wireless design gets rid of the risk of the headphones being yanked off if a cable were to get stuck on something.

Design
Headshots 1
Design
Headshots 2
Design
Top
Design
In The Box

  • Anker SoundCore Life 2 headphones
  • 1/8" TRRS audio cable
  • Micro-USB charging cable
  • Carrying case
  • Manuals

Sound
Sound
Sound Profile
Bass Amount
3.32 db
Treble Amount
0.04 db
6.0
Sound
Frequency Response Consistency
Avg. Std. Deviation
0.92 dB

The Anker SoundCore 2 have a mediocre frequency response consistency performance. These headphones are prone to consistency issues throughout, especially in the bass range. The maximum variance measured across our five human subjects was more than 10dB at 20Hz, which is noticeable. We also noticed that certain types of glasses could break the seal on these headphones and cause a drop in bass. However, the other test subjects had a fairly consistent bass delivery. In the treble range, the maximum amount of deviation below 10KHz, is about 9dB, indicating that these headphones' treble delivery is rather sensitive to positioning.

Sound
Raw Frequency Response
7.5
Sound
Bass Accuracy
Std. Err.
3.51 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
10 Hz
Low-Bass
4.3 dB
Mid-Bass
4.81 dB
High-Bass
0.67 dB

The Life 2’s bass is good. Their LFE (low-frequency extension) is at 10Hz, and low-bass is overemphasized by more than 4dB. This indicates a deep and extended bass with quite a bit of excess thump and rumble. Mid-bass, responsible for the body of bass guitars and kick of drums is also overemphasized by about 4dB. Overall, their bass is quite heavy and thumpy, without being boomy, and it may please fans of bass-heavy genres like EDM and hip-hop due to their excess thump. You can also enable their BassUp feature by double tapping the middle button.

Also, their bass delivery varies across users, and is sensitive to the quality of the fit, seal, and whether you wear glasses. The response here represents the average bass response and your experience may vary.

8.5
Sound
Mid Accuracy
Std. Err.
1.98 dB
Low-Mid
-2.85 dB
Mid-Mid
-0.83 dB
High-Mid
0.02 dB

Their mid-range performance is great. The response throughout the range is flat and even, but it is entirely underemphasized. A 4dB dip in low-mid will make vocals and lead instruments sound thin, and the slight recess in mid-mid will nudge them to the back of the mix.

8.0
Sound
Treble Accuracy
Std. Err.
2.64 dB
Low-Treble
-0.01 dB
Mid-Treble
1.57 dB
High-Treble
-6.0 dB

The treble of the Life 2 is great. The overall response is fairly flat but slightly uneven. This results in some S and T sounds lacking a bit of detail, and others may feel sharp and piercing for some. Not everyone will hear them as sibilant as others.

7.5
Sound
Peaks/Dips
Peaks
1.56 db
Dips
1.23 db
8.0
Sound
Imaging
Weighted Group Delay
0.29
Weighted Amplitude Mismatch
0.14
Weighted Frequency Mismatch
2.2
Weighted Phase Mismatch
16.74

These headphones have great imaging. Their weighted group delay (GD) is 0.29, which is very good. The GD graph shows that their group delay is almost entirely under the audibility threshold. This ensures a tight bass and a transparent treble reproduction. Also, the L/R drivers of our test unit were well-matched in frequency and amplitude, but showed a slight mismatch in phase response. This is important for accurate placement and localization of objects, such as footsteps and instruments, in the stereo field. However, these results are only valid for our unit, and yours may perform differently. The the subtle mismatch in phase won't be audible to most.

4.9
Sound
Passive Soundstage
PRTF Accuracy (Std. Dev.)
2.68 dB
PRTF Size (Avg.)
5.41 dB
PRTF Distance
6.81 dB
Openness
3.0
Acoustic Space Excitation
2.9

The soundstage of the Anker SoundCore Life 2 is sub-par. They show a decent amount of PRTF accuracy and activation, which should translate into a relatively large soundstage. However, there is no notch around the 10KHz region, suggesting a soundstage that is perceived to be located inside-the-head, as opposed to in front. Also, because of the closed-back design and ANC, they tend to sound less open than open-back headphones.

0
Sound
Virtual Soundstage
Head Modeling
No
Speaker Modeling
No
Room Ambience
No
Head Tracking
No
Virtual Surround
No App
7.2
Sound
Weighted Harmonic Distortion
WHD @ 90
0.269
WHD @ 100
0.342
Sound
Test Settings
Firmware
Unknown
Power
On
Connection
Unknown
Codec
SBC, 16-bit, 48kHz
EQ
No EQ
ANC
On
Tip/Pad
Default
Microphone
Integrated
Isolation
7.0
Isolation
Noise Isolation
Isolation Audio
Overall Attenuation
-19.45 dB
Bass
-7.21 dB
Mid
-15.35 dB
Treble
-36.39 dB

The Anker SoundCore Life 2 have a mediocre isolation performance. With the ANC (active noise cancellation) enabled, they achieve about 7dB of isolation in the bass range, which is disappointing. This means they won’t do a great job at blocking out the rumble of airplane and bus engines. In the mid-range, important for blocking out ambient speech, they isolate by 15dB, which is good. In the treble range, occupied by sharp sounds like S and Ts and fan noises like A/C systems, they isolate by 36dB, which is also good. If you want similar headphones that isolate more, look at the Anker SoundCore Space NC or the TaoTronics TT-BH060.

7.4
Isolation
Leakage
Leakage Audio
Overall Leakage @ 1ft
37.1 dB

The leakage performance of the SoundCore Life 2 is good. The significant portion of leakage sits between 400Hz and 5KHz, which is a relatively broad range. This results in a leakage that sounds fuller and more comprehensible than the leakage of in-ears and earbuds, but not as much as open-back headphones. However, the overall level of leakage is not too loud. With the music at 100dB SPL, the leakage at 1 foot away averages at 37dB SPL and peaks at 47dB SPL, which is just under the noise floor of most offices.

Microphone
Microphone
Microphone Style
Integrated
Yes
In-Line
Yes
Boom
No
Detachable Boom
No
6.6
Microphone
Recording Quality
Recorded Speech
LFE
261.43 Hz
FR Std. Dev.
3.31 dB
HFE
3466.89 Hz
Weighted THD
7.413
Gain
42.91 dB

The recording quality of the SoundCore Life 2’s integrated microphone is okay. LFE (low-frequency extension) is at 261Hz, which means transmitted/recorded speech with this mic will sound noticeably thin. The HFE (high-frequency extension) of 3.5KHz indicates speech that lacks detail and is noticeably muffled. This will have a negative effect on the intelligibility of speech, but it should still be understandable in quiet environments.

7.0
Microphone
Noise Handling
Speech + Pink Noise
Speech + Subway Noise
SpNR
20.68 dB

The noise handling of the integrated mic is passable. In our SpNR test, it achieved a speech-to-noise ratio of about 21dB. This makes this microphone suitable mostly for quiet environments, and not great for moderate and loud environments as it will have difficulty separating ambient noise from actual speech.

Active Features
7.6
Active Features
Battery
Battery Type
Rechargable
Continuous Battery Life
28.3 hrs
Additional Charges
0.0
Total Battery Life
28.3 hrs
Charge Time
2.5 hrs
Power-Saving Feature
No
Audio While Charging
No
Passive Playback
Yes
Charging Port micro-USB

The SoundCore Life 2’s battery is great. You get over 28 hours of continuous playback with a 2 and a half hour charge time. They offer more battery life than the Space NC and take less time to charge fully, which is great. You can also use them passively with the included audio cable, even if the battery is dead. You can also use the ANC feature while wired, but only if there’s battery left.

0
Active Features
App Support
App Name No App
iOS No
Android No
macOS No
Windows No
Equalizer
No
ANC Control
No
Mic Control No
Room Effects
No
Playback Control
No
Button Mapping No
Surround Support
No

Anker doesn’t have a mobile or PC app to give you customization options or controls.

Connectivity
6.6
Connectivity
Bluetooth
Bluetooth Version
4.1
Multi-Device Pairing
No
NFC Pairing
No
Line Of Sight Range
153 ft
PC Latency (SBC)
149 ms
PC Latency (aptX)
N/A
PC Latency (aptX HD)
N/A
PC Latency (aptX-LL)
N/A
iOS Latency
556 ms
Android Latency
140 ms

These headphones are Bluetooth compatible. However, they can only connect to one device at a time and don’t support NFC for a quicker and easier pairing procedure.

With 149ms of delay, the SoundCore Life 2 have slightly less latency than most Bluetooth headphones, which is good. Some may still notice a small delay between audio and video while watching TV or any video content. On the upside, some devices and apps seem to offer some sort of compensation, so you might not notice the delay as much. You can also use the headphones with the audio cable to get rid of the latency.

0
Connectivity
Non-Bluetooth Wireless
Non-BT Line Of Sight Range
N/A
Non-BT Latency
N/A
9.5
Connectivity
Wired
Analog Audio
Yes
USB Audio
No
Detachable Yes
Length 4.0 ft
Connection 1/8" TRRS
Analog/USB Audio Latency
0 ms

You can use the included 1/8” TRRS audio cable to use these headphones with any platform that has the appropriate audio jack. You’ll also be able to use their in-line microphone.

Connectivity
PC / PS4 Compatibility
PC/PS4 Analog
Audio + Microphone
PC/PS4 Wired USB
No
PC/PS4 Non-BT Wireless
No
Connectivity
Xbox One Compatibility
Xbox One Analog
Audio + Microphone
Xbox One Wired USB
No
Xbox One Non-BT Wireless
No
0
Connectivity
Base/Dock
Type
No Base/Dock
USB Input
No
Line In
No
Line Out
No
Optical Input
No
RCA Input
No
Dock Charging
No
Power Supply
No Base/Dock

The Anker Soundcore Life 2 do not have a dock.

Compared to other headphones

Comparison picture

The Anker SoundCore Life 2 are decent closed-back headphones that set themselves apart by the value they offer and their amazing 28-hour battery life. Unfortunately, their ANC isn’t the best and their large headband might be too large for people with smaller heads. See our recommendations for the best headphones, the best noise cancelling headphones under $100 and the best wireless headphones.

Anker Soundcore Life Q20 Wireless

The Anker Soundcore Life Q20 Wireless are a slightly improved version of the Anker SoundCore Life 2 Wireless. The Q20 have improved ANC, which will do a better job at blocking out both background speech as well as the low engine rumble of planes or buses. The Q20 battery life is also improved slightly, though it doesn't quite reach the advertised 40 hours. People with small heads will find the Q20 more comfortable and stable than the previous version, as they're a bit smaller. On the other hand, the Life 2 have a more balanced sound profile and a much nicer, hard-carrying case.

Anker SoundCore Space NC Wireless

The Anker SoundCore Life 2 Wireless and the Anker SoundCore Space NC Wireless are very similar headphones in design. However, the main difference between the two is sound. The Life have a more balanced and flat frequency response, while the Space have overemphasized bass and a recessed mid-range, which is better suited for bass-heavy genres. The Life also offer more battery life and take less time to charge, but this may be due to the better noise cancelling performance of the Space. The Space are more versatile since they block a good amount of noise while commuting and at the office.

TaoTronics TT-BH060 Wireless

The TaoTronics TT-BH060 Wireless are better ANC headphones than the Anker SoundCore Life 2 Wireless and will be better suited for commuting. The TaoTronics are well-built headphones, especially since they are quite comfortable and affordable. They have more battery life, but on the other hand, our unit has mismatched drivers. Because of this, the Anker might be the better sounding option.

Mpow H10 Wireless

The Mpow H10 Wireless are slightly better headphones than the Anker SoundCore Life 2 Wireless thanks to their better performance against ambient noise. The Mpow are better suited for commuting and to use at the office, which makes them slightly more comfortable. On the other hand, the Anker's sound signature is more suited for fans of bass, and you can also boost it with the bass effect command. The Anker also leak less than the Mpow and have an in-line mic.

Cowin E7 Wireless

The Anker SoundCore Life 2 Wireless are better headphones than the Cowin E7 Wireless. The Anker are noticeably more comfortable, have a slightly better-build, and their sound quality is also better and more accurate. On the other hand, the Cowin don’t get as hot as the Anker after use and don’t have an in-line microphone like the Anker. The Cowin's build has a plastic feel, and their glossy finish is fingerprint-prone.

Skullcandy Hesh 3 Wireless

The Anker SoundCore Life 2 Wireless are better and more versatile headphones than the Skullcandy Hesh 3 Wireless. The Anker outperform the Skullcandy headphones in pretty much every category. They sound better, are more comfortable, and isolate more ambient noise due to their ANC feature, although it isn’t the best. The Anker offer longer battery life and an in-line mic, which the Skullcandy are lacking. On the other hand, the Skullcandy don’t get as hot as the Anker, and they feel more stable once on your head.

Mixcder E9 Wireless

The Mixcder E9 Wireless and Anker Soundcore Life 2 Wireless are two decent budget headphones. The Mixcder are a better option when you want a balanced and neutral sound, but the Anker will be better for fans of bass. Isolation-wise, the Mixcder have a slight upper hand, especially in the bass range isolation, which is good for commuting. On the other hand, the Anker have a better continuous battery life and an in-line microphone, which the Mixcder lacks.

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Anker SoundCore Life 2 Wireless Price

Soundcore Life 2
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